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Egypt: cruises on Nile in crisis, tourists still fearful

Data on tourism down from 2011; now investments for recovery.
05.05.15 | Source: ANSAmed

A ghost fleet is moored along the Nile river, between Aswan and Luxor, in southern Egypt. Until a few years ago, this part of the river along some of the most beautiful archaeological parks and antiquities in the world was a very popular site visited by tourists as part of cruise itineraries. Groups of Russians, Germans, Britons and Italians left on boats that were all the same: a few dozen cabins, a piano bar for the evening and a swimming pool on the last floor against the African heat during the day.

Some 300 of these ships crossed one another as they went back and forth and tourists visited villages and cities along the way, which flourished thanks to the work they got.

All of this is in the past now: over the past four years, tourists have left Egypt. The political turbulence in the country has cooled the enthusiasm of Europeans and plunged a sector - tourism - which had the second most important impact on GDP after the Suez channel.

First there was the popular revolution against Mubarak in 2011, then the Islamist government of Mohammed Morsi and, less than a year ago, the rise to power of the military led by General al Sisi, who is today Egypt's president. The military front opened in the Sinai against Islamic terrorists is also a factor along with the internal front against the Muslim Brothers, seriously weakened by Morsi's ouster yet strong enough to organize targeted attacks in several parts of the country.